After a similar bug hit WhatsApp for Android users earlier this week, a 'black dot' bug has now been spotted on iOS, affecting both iPad and iPhone devices. The bug reportedly affects devices running iOS 11.3 and the current iOS 11.4 beta version. A video shows its existence on the iPhone X. Last year, iOS came in the headlines for a similar bug that triggered with a three symbol rainbow message.
As detailed by YouTube channel EverythingApplePro, the 'black dot' bug comes into action after an iOS user receives an ominous black dot message. Receiving one slows down the device, and with a large number of the same message received, it completely locks down the hardware, the YouTube channel claimed. Users need to force-quit the Messages app on their devices and then open a New Message screen through a quick action by long-pressing the Messages app. Users will then be able to delete the conversation thread including the black dot message. Users could also go to another iCloud synced device, and delete the message from there, 9to5Mac notes.
It appears that the prime cause of the 'black dot' bug is the number of Unicode characters that are hidden within the strings that majorly impact the text processing engine and eventually freeze or crash the device. It is also expected that the bug could affect devices running macOS, watchOS, and tvOS in addition to some iOS devices. Having said that, we weren't able to replicate the bug at any of our iOS devices.
Apple is likely to release a fix shortly. Meanwhile, you could overcome the issue by avoid opening a message containing the infamous black dot character.
Notably, Apple has a history of confronting text-based bugs on its platforms. The company in the past saw an issue with Telugu characters that it fixed via iOS 11.2.6, watchOS 4.2.3, tvOS 11.2.6, and macOS 10.3.3 Supplement Update versions. Similarly, a three symbol rainbow message also emerged in January last year that was crashing several iPhone models running iOS 8 and above.